April 2014: Government Affairs


April 2014

Government Affairs

Opinion: Small Businesses Bear Brunt of Health Care Law

Another week, another failure of the President’s health care law comes to light.

New problems surface before the ink can dry on previous reports of problems. Last month, a report from the nonpartisan Office of the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed two-thirds of small businesses will face premium increases, affecting 11 million people.

Also in February, California canceled the online options for small businesses, just four months after putting up a small business health plan website.

Before that, still in February, President Obama unilaterally decided to delay the health coverage mandate on companies with 50 to 99 employees until 2016. The President is using unprecedented executive action to choose who gets relief from this burdensome law (and notably, who doesn’t), though he and his Senate allies have ignored legislative efforts in the House to provide relief from the law to everyone.

The facts continue to shatter the President’s lofty promises. Pundits focus on this drumbeat of news as a political burden for the President, but the real concern is the economic burden the law places on small businesses. Small firms are particularly vulnerable to the uncertainty and higher costs from this disastrous law. This week, the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce will examine how the health care law affects the self-employed.

The President’s unilateral use of his pen and his phone, as he memorably boasted of his circumvention of the Congress, to change the health care law deeply undermines its credibility – and his. For small businesses, the credibility of this law was already shaken by the President’s delays of the online applications for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

On top of the confusion around the constant state of change in the law, we still don’t know how many small businesses have been able to purchase health care for their employees. As of Jan. 1, 2014, Kentucky’s “model exchange” had signed up only 14 small businesses. On Jan. 30, I asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to update Congress about the federally run SHOP’s enrollment progress. While we know the state-run small business programs are off to a sluggish start, and California’s program was taken offline, HHS still has not released how many small businesses have purchased health care from the federally run exchange.

Each new delay is an acknowledgement that this bad policy isn’t working. The initial SHOP delay was an admission that the Obama administration was unprepared, but the latest delay of the mandate is an even bigger admission – that the law is having a heavy economic cost. Many of these businesses already have made the cuts and tough employment decisions to comply with this burdensome law. Most of those jobs aren’t likely to come back because of a temporary delay in this flawed policy.

Small businesses are off to a slow hiring start in 2014, according to Intuit’s tracking. That should be no surprise when small businesses are grappling with health care costs that have doubled since 2009, according to a survey released in February by the National Association of Small Businesses.

A study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office comprehensively confirmed that the health care law is slowing the economy, adding to the national debt, costing jobs and even reducing wages and work hours. The total cost of the health care law to taxpayers is soaring, now at $2 trillion over 10 years. z

The debate is no longer merely about the unprepared bureaucracy, the botched rollout and the failure to construct a secure, reliable website. These are just the tip of the Obamacare iceberg. The widespread damage of this ill-conceived law is not even contained to the millions of Americans who received a cancelation notice in the mail. Every American has a stake in the economy and the nation’s fiscal health.

The U.S. economy is paying a high price for a broken law’s broken promises.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) is chairman of the House Small Business Committee.

 Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 54
    September 2010 Government Affairs Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act Sen. Mike Johanns I don’t know a single person who would deny that businesses face a mountain of paperwork to comply with a whole host of laws, most significantly tax laws. Remarkably, the recently passed health care law will dramatically increase that paperwork mountain, unless…
    Tags: businesses, small, health, care, law, business
  • 49
    January 2010 Government Affairs Why I Voted ‘No’ on Health Care Reform By Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) The need for health care reform is clear: The skyrocketing cost of health care threatens America’s financial future and our ability to effectively care for our citizens. When Congress set out to accomplish health care reform earlier in 2009,…
    Tags: care, health
  • 46
    May 2011 Government Affairs Why I Voted to Repeal Health Reform Rep. Dan Boren We are one year removed from the passage of the Affordable Care Act and nearly two months passed a vote in the House to repeal it. Since that first vote was cast, my constituents remind me at every town hall meeting…
    Tags: care, health, law, businesses
  • 40
    September 2011 Legal Issues Succession Planning Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail By Timothy R. Hughes, Esq. and Lauren K. Keenan, Esq. Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series. Most subcontracting firms are closely held businesses owned by either a family or a small cadre of owners. Running the business generally…
    Tags: business, small, businesses
  • 37
    February 2011 Government Affairs Reenergizing our Economy House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves Reenergizing our economy and rekindling the American spirit of entrepreneurship must be the central focus of the 112th Congress. The small business owners who create the majority of new jobs need a government that will work with them – not against…
    Tags: business, small, businesses


Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products